Doug Towle
Gig Seeker Pro

Doug Towle

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM
Band Latin World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Alex Browne (Peace Arch News)"

It’s currently one of the busiest bands in White Rock and South Surrey — and with good reason.

De La Terra’s nuevo flamenco music (acoustic guitar-based instrumentals with a Latin flavour — think Ottmar Liebert, Jesse Cook and The Gypsy Kings) is eminently listenable, and, as patrons at its many gigs at local venues—Washington Avenue Grill and Kimberley’s Gills & Grapes—have discovered, highly danceable.

Like a litre or two of musical Sangria, De La Terra quickly gets into the bloodstream, producing euphoria that quickly dispels the worries of the day and transforms just about any venue into an instant party.

Add the fact it’s a quartet with flexibility, mobility and minimal amplification and tech requirements, and one can see why De La Terra has too many local gigs to be listed in one article (for a rundown of current playdates, check their website:

De La Terra is the musical brainchild of leader/guitarist Doug Towle, and the group has benefited from a constant personnel in the two and a half years it’s been performing in this area.

For all its success, De La Terra is almost an accidental phenomenon, Towle said.“I just wanted to make an album of really cool acoustic guitar music — and the band came together out of that. It was just an excuse to get together and play. None of us were planning to do anything like this.”

A major constant in the De La Terra story has been an instrumental-only approach to the music.

“If people want to, they can make up their own words — I’m no good at it and I really can’t sing.

“People like it. It’s not intrusive. It’s fun, it’s easy to listen to and we get a lot of people dancing in their chairs, even if they’re too embarrassed to get up on the dance floor.

“It’s a lot of fun watching a room change over the course of an evening, especially when we’re playing in restaurants.

“A lot of people don’t know what to expect or don’t even know there’s a band at all. They’ve come in for a nice, quiet dinner and by the end of the night they’ll be up on the dance floor in a conga line—which happens quite a lot.”

Pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction, the group has been working on a new CD, which should be ready for release in the next couple months, and Towle recently released an album of solo guitar music.

Ironically, through De La Terra, reformed rocker Towle has found his way back to some of the jazz and classical guitar concepts he studied in North Delta Senior Secondary and at Douglas College.

“I’ve pretty much played it all, in one way or another,” he said.

But he acknowledges his first love as a guitarist (he started playing at 12) was rock.

“I played heavy metal, grunge—loud obnoxious music,” he said with a wry grin.

“My first gig was when I was 15 in some little club downtown; a grungy dive bar. I was in long-haired grunge bands for years.”

Was there some epiphany that changed all this?

“Aside from just growing up?” Towle queried.

“And cutting off my hair?”

But there were other, practical considerations.

“As a guitar player in rock bands, you’re always relying on finding a good singer. But with acoustic instrumental stuff, I’ve found you can front a band as a guitar player.

“I always had an affection for really loud guitar music. Now I sort of do the same thing—but not really loud.” - Peace Arch News

"Cal Koat (World Beat Canada)"

De La Terra - Rhythm and Passion (Independent) - Nuevo Flamenco, like sangria is one of those great summertime concoctions. De La Terra make hay while the sun shines. I saw the group up at the Harrison Festival Of The Arts, just one stop on the busy summer festival circuit. You can't get much tighter than a three-piece, and the road-seasoned combination of musicians deliver the duende with a singular voice. Rhythm And Passion effectively displays Towle's sophisticated sense of melody and his penchant for shredding acoustic solos. The 15 tracks make superb listening for a sunny afternoon. - Kalcopyrite

"World Beat Canada"

Rumba Flamenca may have been defined by the Gipsy Kings but it’s a genre in development. It’s also a discipline that pushes a guitarists techniques and talents to the max. That’s why Doug Towle was deeply honoured to be selected from thousands of entries as one of the top ten guitarists in North America by the editorial staff of the venerable Guitar Player Magazine (no small feat). Doug proves himself up to the challenge and worthy of the praise on his new album Desire, Heat & Spirit; a volatile mix indeed. It’s also a vibrant journey that displays how far and into how many different styles he has pushed Rumba Flamenca. The fifteen tracks clock in at almost 70 minutes of acoustic shredding through salsa, Latin jazz, Spanish guitar and even the reggae one-drop (Ism Skism is definitely worth a listen). Other standouts include Taking Flight, Luna Rojo, Natasha and my personal favorite, Alcatraz which, true to the title, rocks big time.
- Kalcopyrite

"Tom Harrison"

It should go without saying that the guitarist discovered by Guitar Player magazine has made a dazzling album. This hour of "Latin jazz and Spanish guitar" makes a strong first impression -- all speed and precision with rhythm and spice.
- The Province Newspaper

"Towle tries for the top"

Doug Towle, take a bow. Better yet, take a solo.

The White Rock resident has been named a finalist in Guitar Player magazine's Guitar Superstar Competition.

He'll play at the mag's celebration weekend, Sept. 11-13, in front of a panel of judges that include Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson's guitarist), Elliot Easton, Greg Hampton and Steve Lukather.

The competition is a highlight of what amounts to a trade fair at Livermore Valley, California.

Towle is one of 10 finalists, who were selected from hundreds of entries. He'll be judged on technique, creativity, charisma and overall vibe accompanied by Guitar Player's house band, Thud Factor.

All 10 contestants receive an all-expenses paid trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. The winner, first runner-up and second runner-up of the event will receive custom trophies and complete gear packages. The champion will receive a feature article in Guitar Player magazine and prizes from event sponsors.

- The Province Newspaper

"Guitarist aims for prestigious honour"

"It's weird and intense – and very cool."

So said guitarist Doug Towle of De La Terra, who's still reeling from the news that he's been selected as one of the 10 finalists in U.S.-based Guitar Player magazine's Superstar 2009 competition.

The magazine will fly the South Surrey resident down to San Francisco to compete in the finals, Sept. 12 at the Livermore Performing Arts Centre.

"It's in a suburb of San Francisco, just the other side of Oakland," said Towle, who's been playing guitar for 30 years – the last 10 of them using the Semiahmoo Peninsula as his base.

If he wins, he will receive a feature story in the magazine, free gear, and some other one-of-a-kind prizes.

Whether working as a single or fronting one of his De La Terra groups, Towle has become a valued member of the B.C. music community for his dynamic, audience- and venue-friendly mix of salsa, Latin jazz, flamenco and world music.

He'll showcase that style – and his impressive technique – Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Slainte By The Pier, 15057 Marine Dr.

But Towle, who has won well-deserved respect as an accomplished acoustic guitarist at many Canadian events – including the Central Music Festival in Red Deer, the Hulberts Festival in Edmonton and the Canadian Guitar Festival in Odessa, Ontario – said, frankly, he never expected to make the top 10 in a Guitar Player-sponsored, North America-wide contest.

"I just submitted a song online as kind of a lark – I really had no interest in (the competition)," he explained.

"I kind of forgot about it, and then the other day they e-mailed me and told me I'd made it through the judging process and I was selected as a finalist.

"All of a sudden, boom, I'm in. I'm pretty excited. I have no idea how many other entries there were, but I'm one of the 10 guys from across North America and we're all heading down to San Francisco to battle it out."

As far as Towle understands, each of the contestants will have a chance to show off his or her chops on one song, backed by a full live band, led by Jonathan Herrera, editor-in-chief of Bass Player Magazine.

Towle will be playing the song he submitted, Inspiration, from his most recent CD, Momentum.

This year's judges will be Jennifer Batten, who was Michael Jackson's guitarist, Elliot Easton from The Cars, Greg Hampton, the producer for Alice Cooper and The Tubes, and Steve Lukather from Toto.

"I'm really excited to meet him – he was one of my childhood heroes."

The idea of being a finalist in the contest is altogether a trip down Memory Lane for Towle who confesses he started his guitar career as a typical rock 'n' roll shredder.

"This is Guitar Player, for heaven's sake," he said. "As a finalist, I'll have some sort of write-up in the magazine, and that's a bit of a dream come true. Getting your name mentioned in Guitar Player is what every teenaged guitar-freak wants to do. I'm still trying to get my head around it."

It's a capper to a year that has already seen Towle gaining a much higher international profile, partly due to his participation in the Zihuatenejo Guitar Festival in Mexico this spring.

"That was amazing – 10 days in absolute paradise, meeting a lot of incredible players in a wide variety of music. There were Americans from Nashville, a classical finger-style player from Juillard, guys from Mexico, jazz players and me."

Superstar 2009 will mean a chance to reconnect with some players from San Francisco he met there, Towle said.

And, hopefully, it will provide some opportunities to line up some future shows in San Francisco and along the West Coast, he added.

As far as the all-genres contest itself, Towle noted that jazz and rock players could be going up against country pickers for the top spot.

"There's a ton of metal shredders," he added.

"I believe I'm the only acoustic player this year, and certainly the only Latin player."

That means he'll stand out in the competition, he acknowledges, but whether in a good way or a bad way he hesitates to guess.

"It's a weird thing being in a competition," he said.

"It depends very much on the judges you have and what mood they're in, that day. I've done a couple of national competitions before, and swore I'd never do another.

"But this is different. All the other ones were open entry, which meant I got in if I was one of the first in the line. But this one, I got in because I was chosen, which is a nice thing to begin with."

Even so, Towle said he is going into the finals with eyes wide open and "absolutely no expectations."

If it results in some more exposure – and more work in the U.S. – he'll be more than satisfied, he said, philosophically.

"It's a free trip to San Francisco and I get to meet some cool people – that's the big thing."
- Peace Arch News

"Introducing the Guitar Player Guitar Superstar 2009 Finalists!"

Doug Towle

Vancouver, British Columbia
Guitars: Custom Sigurdson, La Patrie Hybrid CW, Larrivee J-09M.
Effects: Hartke Acoustic Attack, Boss Reverb, Ibanez Digital, Delay, Boss Tuner.
Strings & Things: D’Addario Pro Arte Hard Tension, Jim Dunlop 1mm nylon picks.
Influences: Al Di Meola, Strunz and Farrah, Paco De Lucia, Jesse Cook, Ottmar Leibert, Dave Murray.
Favorite Bands: Strunz and Farrah, Vicente Amigo, Iron Maiden, Gypsy Kings.
Favorite Guitar Solo: “Mediterranean Sundance,” Al Di Meola/Paco De Lucia.
Favorite Album: Friday Night in San Francisco, Al Di Meola/Paco De Lucia/John McLaughlin.
Favorite Song: “Mediterranean Sundance,” Al Di Meola/Paco De Lucia.
What Made You Decide to Pursue the Guitar?: It’s all I ever wanted to do from the first moment I picked one up when I was three. It took me 30 years to make a living at it, but well worth it.
The Perfect Guitar Tone: Any high-end acoustic guitar.
Career Dream: To keep doing what I’m doing—but for more people!
- Guitar Player Magazine


Desire, Heat & Spirit - 2009
Momentum - 2007
High Spirits - 2004
Rhythm and Passion - 2003
Nine Days Later - 2002
Lluvia - 2000



Doug Towle takes the Spanish guitar to new heights. His flawless technique and amazing speed combine with a sophisticated sense of melody to make him one of the finest players of our time. But hes not just a spectacular musician he is also a gifted writer and arranger. His songs bring impressions of joy and passion to anyone who hears them. He takes his listeners on a journey around the globe and through their hearts and he does it all without words. His guitar is his voice and he speaks volumes with it.

In 2009 Guitar Player Magazine selected Doug from among thousands of hopefuls as a top ten finalist in their Guitar Superstar Competition, solidifying his reputation as one of the top players not only in Canada but globally. He has performed across North America in such prestigious events as Guitar Player Live in San Francisco, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, The Zihuatenejo Guitar Festival in Mexico, several appearances at the Juan De Fuca Festival and the Harmony Arts Festival among countless other festival and club stages.

His newest album Desire, Heat and Spirit is a treat for not only fans of Latin music and the guitar but anyone wanting an extraordinary musical experience. World Beat Canada calls it a vibrant journey that displays how far and into how many different styles he has pushed Rumba Flamenca. The Vancouver Province says a dazzling album speed and precision with rhythm and spice.

Doug continues to extend the boundaries of himself, his instrument and the genre. He tours regularly across the continent and reaches new heights and audiences with every performance.

Band Members